January 2, 2015 Subject:
America's Most Famous Study
America's most famous research study is described by this book. In 1931, 30 High schools were given permission by 300 colleges to experiment with the curriculum. The colleges would accept graduates on the school's recommendation irrespective of the usual course requirements, like 4 years of English, etc. The schools were free to experiment and students were followed for 4 years of high school and 4 years of college, hence the book title. 1475 students from the 30 high schools were carefully paired with students from other schools with the same demographics, ability, career aspirations and college attended. The experimental students were found to have a somewhat higher grade point average, were more interested in current affairs, participated more in extracurricular activities, were judged as more insightful by their professors and better on a host of other measures. Several additional analyses were made. Some of the 30 schools didn't make much of a change and some made radical changes. So, they compared how the 6 least changed school students did. Here, the experimental students were about the same as their matchees. The 6 most changed schools had students far ahead on all measures with their matchees. Finally, the two most experimental schools students were found to have the greatest positive effects of any study I know of then or since. The book is well written, almost exciting reading, and summarizes the other 4 volumes of the study. The book published in 1942 was mostly overlooked because of World War II. It has been recently revisited by scholars and found valid and with important lessons for today's schools. It's well-executed study by some of that era's most well-known and respected scholars and ranks as America's greatest study of high school education. This a must read for today's educators and the public. The book is a reproduction and contains some underlining by a former reader but otherwise is an exact replication of the original.